Yesterday I took my coffee into the shower with me. Sounds like a strange place to drink coffee, but it is one place where I can drink it without being interrupted. A few quiet moments without having to deal with the constant demands of my little ones.
I’ve realized for some time now that God speaks to me when I’m in the shower. It seems like an unusual place for God to speak, but I think I know why. The shower is a quiet place for me (as long as another adult is present in the house at the time). The kids know that when I’m in the shower, they need to stay out of the bathroom. Any other place in the house, I am sought out, called for and talked to. It doesn’t matter where I am, someone is calling “MOMMY!!”
Sometimes I foolishly think I can just slip downstairs for a minute to grab something from the freezer. Jonathan brilliantly rigged up a makeshift baby gate for the top of our stairs. It is a bit like a saloon door that swings open for older children but is too difficult for little ones to manage (although Mia has it figured out by now). The draw back is that no matter how careful I am about not making a sound, the kids always hear the little “tap tap” of the door when it closes behind me. Sometimes I reach the freezer and sigh with relief that no one heard me this time. And then I hear it. “Mommy! Where are you?” It would be ok if only they could hear my answer. “I’M DOWNSTAIRS!” I yell. The little voice gets louder, “MOMMY!! WHERE ARE YOU??”
Oh boy, here we go again. If only they didn’t need to know where I was every single second.
So, here I am in the shower. Alone. No one calling for me and I can enjoy some of my morning coffee. And God speaks. I hear his instructions, his encouragement. He whispers the names of people I need to pray for or write a note of encouragement to. It is amazing, really. In the quietness, I hear his voice.
I’m learning the value of being still. Oh, it is so hard to be still. As soon as I see some time stretch out before me without any plans, I begin to make a list in my head on how I can fill that time. There is so much that needs to be done. But after reading a chapter from Lysa Terkeusrt’s book, “The Best Yes”, I realized I need to stop filling that time. She writes a humorous story in chapter 13 about saying “yes” to making Rice Krispie treats for her child’s class when the time she has to make them really doesn’t exist. I could relate to how it went terribly wrong for her and how stressed out she got trying to accomplish the task she didn’t have time for. The people who suffered were her family because she was stressed out. Oh boy, can I relate to that! And why do we say yes to these things? Mostly to impress other people. Look at me! I’m a busy mom, but look at my culinary skills! I can do it all because I’m super mom.
After reading this chapter, I’ve made the decision to lay the burden of impressing people at the feet of Jesus. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30. What a relief. I don’t have to make fancy cupcakes or the best apple pie you’ve ever tasted because that is just an unrealistic thing for me right now. I might love to do it, but I just can’t right now.
I put this into practice on Saturday. Thanksgiving dinner was approaching and normally I’d be planning the recipes I’d be making to impress my family with my delicious desserts. Instead, I pulled a pie from the freezer (thanks Laurentian Hills Christian School), I slapped some icing on the cupcakes I was bringing for Ethan’s birthday (threw on some chocolate chips for the kid’s sake) and made a basic pumpkin pie with a ready made crust. This is very scaled back for me, folks. It felt great. No people pleasing pressure. And instead for slaving for hours in the kitchen (which I never have time for), I played with my kids at the park. We ran around playing tag and hide and seek and we had a blast. I enjoyed company with Cor when he didn’t want to nap. I wasn’t worried about the desserts waiting for me in the kitchen, I was able to enjoy my kids.
We have a hard time being still. We feel like we need to fill the time with something. But God commands us to be still. “Be still, and know that I am God; Psalm 46:10. Remember when Jesus commands the storm with the words, “Be still”?
“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:39.
Give yourself permission to be still. Rest. Put your feet up. Enjoy your children’s company or your husband’s. Take your coffee into the shower with you and let God’s peace wash over your soul.